Tag Archives: Mike Schreiner

Gelph’s Green MPP ignites the fears of Climate Change at Carden Street rally

By Gerry Barker

September 10, 2018

Will that be regular or high test?

An estimated 250 people turned up at a Climate Change rally on Carden Street last Saturday. They heard the one and only MPP Mike Schreiner, proclaimed Ontario leader of the one-man Green Party in the Ontario Legislature, press the “right” environmentalist buttons to the assembled crowd.

Or was that the “left button?”

Here’s a trip down memory lane.

I remember the comment by former councillor Maggie Laidlaw 10 years ago and I’m paraphrasing: “In 20 years there won’t be any cars on Guelph streets.”

Well, Maggie, ten years later there are more cars, trucks and buses on our streets than ever, creating traffic congestion and lack of downtown core parking. Even the number of gas stations has been reduced.

Since the Maggie opinion, some 12,000 new residents have chosen Guelph as their home. In 10 years the city staff has increased by 650. Go figure.

At the time, Maggie was an ardent proponent of commuting to work, rain or shine, on her bicycle. She advocated that the bicycle was the precursor of active transportation in Guelph making some of us with well-muscled calves and thighs.

City council went along with this theory and in 2007 started spending millions on bike lanes, particularly on major streets. In 2009 alone more than $2 million was spent putting bike lanes on Stone Road. Each year since, the city has spent $300,000 developing bike lanes.

That project, along with a new time clock in the Sleeman Centre, was financed by a special infrastructure grant divided between the federal and provincial governments and the city. The city’s share was $26 million but it did not have the money. So, it called a note for $30 million owed by Guelph Hydro. Details of spending the money were never really disclosed. It is known that there was little left of the cash infusion.

To bolster their decision to reduce vehicle emissions, council agreed to repave a number of major roads with four lanes for vehicles, and remarking the finished product with two lanes disappearing, wider bike lanes and a left turn centre lane.

Are you starting to see the source of traffic congestion and inadequate parking? Truth to tell is that money went into environmental projects that were poorly planned and executed. The city now called it the District Energy plan that included supplying hot and cold water to five buildings adjacent to the Sleeman Centre using experimental thermal underground technology.

Guelph’s expensive war on vehicles

Bike lanes, solar panels on public buildings, street lane squeezing and plans to build large scale natural gas generating plants to make the city self sufficient in terms of electricity, contributed to millions being misspent. Inspired by former mayor, Karen Farbridge, the spending under under the Community Energy Innovation cost the city millions.

The trouble with these “climate change” developments was a lack of statistical information about the use of the bike lanes. Even more important was that many of these arbitrary changes resulted in a marked bike lane starting at one point and ending before the end of the street. Examples are Stevenson, Silver Creek, Downey and Woolwich.

Today, the city still has a $400 million under-funded infrastructure deficit that is being handled through a property tax levy of one per cent or $4.4 million each year. In the 2018 budget, half of that is coming from reserve funds and the remainder from property taxpayers.

At that rate, it will take 99.9 years to clear the deficit. But that’s not inflation adjusted or available reserves for catastrophic weather events.

If the University of Guelph just paid its share of property taxes based on that paid by property owners in the city, that is adjusted annually, that money would help restore fairness and make our city stronger financially and more livable.

Linamar, employing some 6,000 workers, pays its share of property taxes. Why is making auto parts any different than graduating students? Guelph residents subsidize the University but not Linamar.

The active transportation crowd or cyclists use city streets at no cost. Many do not pay taxes, and their numbers are unknown by city staff. There was one staff report of a count of traffic on Downey Road of cyclists and vehicles. It was an independent study that revealed in an eight-hour period there were some 900 cyclists using Downey Road and 4,700 vehicles.

The tail is wagging the dog

If this is any indication that the tail is wagging the dog, I don’t know what is.

Climate Change is caused by many factors as fossil fuel use is slowly diminishing. The carbon dioxide emissions of the 400 active volcanoes in the world plus excessive destruction of forested lands, heavy use of coal in many countries including India and China are major contributors of climate change.

Of course the growing world population and growth of the middle class in under-developed countries, places enormous pressure to generate power now leading into a new era of more responsible use of power generation sources.

Finally, the earth is going through a natural change over which we have no control.

Instead we should be concerned about how our city, our province and our country are being managed.

We have just experienced a major change in the provincial government. Next month we have the opportunity to elect a responsible civic government in Guelph. Next year we will elect a new government in Ottawa.

These are opportunities to express your desire by more democratic representation.

It’s now our turn to change.




Filed under Between the Lines

Welcome the new Green Guelph province with one Party, one member and no voice

By Gerry Barker

June 11, 2018

Guelph – Those 29,000 voters, who just elected Mike Schreiner as their member of the Provincial Legislature, have awkwardly created their exclusive Don Quixote attacking the Blue windmills of populism.

We’re Green and not has-beens.

Guelph has become the orphan of provincial politics by electing the Green Part leader with no comrades in the Legislature to support its Green agenda. When you think about it, the Toronto Star got its way and a majority of Guelph voters believed they were making history.

Star columnists Heather Mallick and Robin Sears did their best to convict Premier-elect Doug Ford because of a seventh inning lawsuit for alleged fraudulent handling of Rob Ford’s estate. Renata Ford’s, widow of Rob Ford filed the $16.5 million lawsuit five days before the election.

Before any evidence to support the lawsuit was presented in court, Heather Mallick convicted Doug Ford basically because she didn’t like him. Well, the huge majority of voter in the province didn’t agree. He won so let’s move on.

“Stop Doug Ford” rang throughout the province advocated by Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, who threw in the towel before the election campaign ended June 7.

However a $1.4 billion miscalculation in costing the NDP program that included more spending than the Liberals, helped doom the so-called Orange Surge of the party in the polls.

That was some prediction that most polls missed by a country mile except the one run by Global news. Two weeks before the election it predicted 70 seats for the PC’s, 49 for the NDP, four for the Liberals and one for the Green Party.

How close was it? PC 76, NDP 40, Liberals 7 and the Greek Machine, one.

By one estimate, in winning the Guelph seat, Mr. Schreiner spent more than all the other candidates combined. When Elections Ontario releases the official financial statements, we will know at how much it cost and who sponsored the Green Party victory.

In other words, it will be an interesting exercise to follow the money.

It won’t take The Green Party leader’s supporters long following his swearing in, to discover he has little to say stuck in the corner of the Legislature along with the seven Liberals. Maybe he’ll pick up some pointers from the seven deposed Liberals. Neither Schreiner nor the Liberals have official party status.

When you are a party of one, you are not recognized as an official party. This means there is no allowance for staff research or other perks of the job.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, those folks who voted for Mr. Schreiner threw away the opportunity for real change. Mr. Schreiner ran a powerful and well -financed campaign focused on him and a middle of the road program if elected.

What’s alarming to me is that a majority of people fell for it. It’s not just a dearth of critical thinking that the Ontario Legislature requires a party to have a majority of seats to form a government. The Green party was not even close.

I am reminded of the old argument raised by the NDP, protesting the system of determining a winner, contesting any seat is to be “first past the post.” This means the candidate with the most votes’ wins. That certainly worked for Mr. Schreiner.

But the nagging bellowing of changing the system of voting in Ontario to adopting “proportional voting” in which a voter must grade their first, second and third choice when completing their ballot. Points give each of those choices in order of the number of votes, and are accounted in the final tally.

The Trudeau Liberals election promised electoral reform when they won 183 seats in the House of Commons three years ago.

But the proposal died when clearer heads prevailed.

Besides, if progressive activist Susan Watson supports proportional voting, I have to stop and think. It just echoes NDP policy because the party has never won an Ontario election since Bob Rae defeated the David Peterson government eons ago.

British Columbia uses a proportional voting system. The result is the NDP minority government being propped up by three members of the Green Party. The NDP’s sole interest at the moment is to stop reconstruction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

Unfortunately, Mr. Schreiner will not enjoy that position at Queens Park.

Yes, Guelph voters spoke volumes about how they believe the province should be run.

But all they have accomplished is to create a Sanctuary City where Green progressive are welcome to dip their beaks in the public treasury.

The outcome of the election decided otherwise and Guelph is an island floating in a sea of Blue representing “green” policies rejected by the vast majority of electors in the province.

Indeed, we are stuck in the middle of the Province with only one member representing our interests in the Legislature. He is a man who has no support of Green Party members in the Legislature, no recognition as an official party, and with minimal influence on the Ford government to serve those voters who elected him.

I sure don’t like those odds.

Welcome to the Green province of Guelph.





Filed under Between the Lines